I have no clue how I busted today. No, really. I have no clue.
Rolled into the Venetian on the motorcycle at about 1:45pm today, ready and pretty excited to play in the Omaha8 event, just cause those are always fun. I bought in, took my seat, and checked out the structure. 40 minute levels, 6k in starting chips.
Boy. The first three levels sure sound like a waste of time. Right about that moment I heard, “Seats open, 5-10 no-limit.” I looked at the table and said, “See y’all in a couple of hours!” First time I have ever intentionally missed levels of a tournament.
I sat in the 5-10 game, and within ten minutes I had discovered a gold mine. 9 handed and litereally nobody knew how to play well, with several playing exceptionally bad. An hour later I had yet to raise, nor had I seen a turn card. Two hours later I was stuck $500, even after winning an $800 pot with jack high, and I didn’t want to play Omaha. I decided to sit out of the 5-10 game and go try and build a huge stack in the Omaha event while keeping the 5-10 seat locked up.
I played 25 minutes of level 4, worked my stack from 5500 to 1250, and said, “Whelp. See y’all later.” Rumor has it that I was still around after the second break with 300 in chips, but I could care less. I was in the best seat in the world, immediately to the left of a very nice guy who was in for $4k at that point but somehow had $4600 in front of him and really made the game.
I could write a book on all the hands that happened during tonight, but I’ll save the entire blog for this one special hand.
The game was playing really big. The effective stacks were about $3k. I was one of the larger ones fluctuating between 4k and 5k. One player who was decent was running especially good and had over 8k in front of him, and few players had 3k in front of them. The average pot was about $1k, with more pots over $2k being won with two pair than I had ever thought possible. We were averaging about 5 players per flop for $40 each. ON AVERAGE. We once saw a flop seven ways for $120 each.
On this particular hand, really bad player limped UTG, I limped UTG+1 with 6 6 , many other players limped behind including three from the table in front of us, two from the table behind us, and six via satellite. It finally limped to the big blind who was Mr. Don Key. He never told me his real name but used Don Key several times. I asked him if that’s how he wanted me to write about this as, and he gave me “the artistic right to do what [invalid card] needed to do.” Mr. Key made it $100 to go from the big blind. Really bad player called, I called.
Now, my pre-flop call was called into question. Here’s the reasoning behind this call. Even if everybody was going to fold behind me, I’m still calling. I’m getting 2.5-1 on my money at that point for a 7.5-1 shot at flopping a set, but my implied odds are astronomical. Mr. Key had over $3k in front of him, and I’m pretty sure I get a ton of them if I flop a set, especially on any non-threatening board. Secondly, I know exactly where he is at and can outplay him on many boards, and thirdly, the really bad player who had a propensity to make very loose post-flop calls was also in the hand. Why wouldn’t I call here?!? But, I knew that with me and the really bad player calling it would be like dominoes falling behind me and I expected several more to call behind me, thus making my pre-flop call the correct play.
Three other players called behind, and we saw a flop six ways with a little over $600 in the pot. I was in fourth position, which is pretty dang good considering that I was UTG+1. It came 5 7 8 . Huh. Good news bad news I suppose. SB checked, BB, Mr. Key, who clearly has AA, KK, or maybe QQ, bets $400. Really bad player folds. My turn.
Now what? I do have an open ender, but I don’t love it. There’s plenty of ways for the three players behind to have huge hands, but they also don’t necessairly have to have a huge hand. I could fold, but I don’t think that’s any good. I could raise, but what if one of the three behind me did flop a huge hand? I don’t want to play for all of my chips just yet. If I call, then what?
Well, this is what. I decided to call for two reasons. I was half calling to float and half calling for straight-draw value. As defined by Brandon Adams in an upcoming article, “…’floating’ refers to continuing in a poker hand (almost always after the flop) with no hand and no draw. Obviously, you would only do this if you have intentions of taking your opponent off his hand.” This is a float here because even though I have a pair and a draw, I know the pair is no good and the draw isn’t very good. The straight draw value would come into play if players called behind me, because then I would be getting at least 2-1 odds on the flop to draw to my straight, and I would strongly suspect that I would get a free look at the river due to the scary board.
OK… so. Plan A: BB bets, I call, everybody fold. Turn x, BB bets, I shove, he folds because he can’t possibly call on that scary ass board, and I drag a nice pot.
Y’all are probably wondering how I can deduce all this. Here’s how: I have a very tight image. Mr. Key is a thinking player. Mr. Key is scared of that board. Mr. Key only has one pair and knows that playing huge pots with one pair is always bad. Mr. Key respects my game. My call on the flop is very strong - I either have a HUGE hand, most likely a flopped straight but possibly a set, or I have a big draw - big clubs or clubs and a 6. By shoving the turn I would narrow my range to the huge hand side, and he would be forced to lay it down. Really, he has to. Any thinking player has to lay down there because they know that they can find better spots to get all their money in the middle. Side note: I would not even think of attempting plan A against a non thinking player, or if I was out of position against any player.
Still with me here? Plan B: BB bets, I call, and 1-3 players call behind. Well, at that point I would be playing almost stricly on the straight draw value, but I could still see what developed with the hand.
So I call. 7 seat who was also decent and had a huge stack went into the tank. Eventually my Jedi mind tricks worked and he folded. The 1 seat, who had $280 left, stuffs it all in the middle and says something to the extent of “let’s gamble”, so I know that he most likely has nothing but is weak regardless. His presence is an issue though because if I do bluff the BB off the hand, I still have to beat whatever the hell he has at showdown to win the main pot. Then, plan A goes completely to the trash when the SB calls. SB was a bad player but had a little over $2k in front of him.
3 players for $400 on the flop, one for $280. $360 on the side, amost $1800 in the main pot, and I know that nobody has anything better than one pair. Pretty sick for a 5-10 game, eh? I also love that I’m almost 1400 words into this blog about one hand and we haven’t even hit the turn yet.
Turn: T . Bummer. Anybody got an eraser for one dot? That sure would have made things easier. SB checked. I really have no clue what this guy has, clubs smells the most likely, possibly a six. BB checks. He was in a really tough spot. If he bets the turn I think really hard about shoving and probably eventually pull the trigger. If he checks, he still has no idea where is at and releases control of the hand. I probably would have checked in that spot too, cause the pot is huge and the board is scary, but I really have no idea what the “right” play is there.
My turn now. Do I bluff or do I take the free card? I really think the free card is the better play, cause I think the BB was planning on check-calling. I check.
River: 2 . Oh well. I’m done. SB wins everything. Sure would have been sweet to win that pot. But wait… SB checks?!? What on God’s green Earth did he have? Either way, I know he’s done with the hand too. BB checks and really wants to get the hand over with. My turn. I count to three in my head and fire $1k.
I know SB is folding, I know BB is folding, I know I am winning $360 from the side pot, and I think I have a reasonable chance of winning the main pot since the all-in player could have anything. However, I also know that BB has the best hand right now period (unless the all-in player has something really goofy that caught up), and by bluffing him out of the pot I could be taking the main pot away from him and handing it to the all-in player. It was a chance that I was willing to take selfishly because I knew I was winning the $360 immediately and had probably a 50/50 chance at winning the $1800 main pot. Sorry homie… nothing personal, but the play had the best positive expectation to me.
As expected the SB folded, the BB thought forever and folded QQ face up, I tried to close my ear to the berating that was sure to come as I rolled over my 66, and the all-in player was pretty shocked to see that his 89o was good for an $1800 main pot. He was instantly my friend, and Mr. Key had a bullseye on my forehead. He was pretty frustrated and rightfully so - I would be too if I got bluffed out of a $2100 pot by a player who only won $360 of that pot with a measly pair of sixes. But, it is poker, and there was a reasonable chance that I had a better hand than the all-in player, and this is not tournament poker - there’s nothing strategically wrong with bluffing a dry or semi-dry side pot in a cash game - it can just really be a mean thing to do. I didn’t do it to be mean - I did it to try and win the most money.
I hope y’all enjoyed that hand. I want you to pay particular attention to the thought process going on during each street - that is how I want you to be thinking when you play this week. Not on levels of, “Should I call, or raise?” But on levels of, “Why???”
Also tonight I ran into my friend Todd, whom I wrote about in this blog. Immediately as he sat down at my table, said he needed to talk to me about a piece of journalism, referring to the blog. Basically in the blog I said that he made a bad play that worked out well in the situation, and a couple of his friends who read this blog told him that I said he played bad or something to that extent. Couple of things here… Yeah, I think it was a bad play - but the play obviously worked out in that situation and the play has merits of it’s own. Just cause I think it was a bad play doesn’t make it a bad play - it makes it my opinion. That’s the beautiful thing about this game is that so many decisions, especailly in no-limit, are so very fluid. When I write about a hand or a play or a player, I never have any mal-intent with anything I write. I never write anything that I would not talk with that individual about. I never name names unless I know that the person doesn’t mind or I know the person and would talk with them about it in the same manner. I talk about my own mistakes also - not just other’s players mistakes. This forum is a blog, an open discourse of thought, and I would love it to be a communal discussion. It is by no means authoratative, nor do I think I am always right. It’s just a free-flow of thought.
Peace and good luck,
But… that’s it for the good news. I cashed today. FINALLY. 0 for freakin 16, and I finally cashed tonight coming in 16th for $1274, good for a profit of $724. Pretty disappointing obviously, but it was an interesting tournament filled with good plays, interesting hands, a mistake, and a hilarious hand. Read on.
So these Venetian tournaments they’re running are called “Deep Stack” tourneys, and they sure start that way. Today 309 of us started with 10k, 40 min levels, and blinds at 25-50. However, in my humble opinion, they really screw the tournament up after the 1k/2k with 300 level. From there it goes 1500/3000/500, 2k/4k/500, 3k/6k/1k, 4k/8k/1k, 6k/12k/2k. In six levels the m goes from 6k to 36k, and during those levels they go hand for hand twice effectively cutting the hands played in two levels in half. It’s really frustrating playing a tourney when you have all the play in the world and it doesn’t matter, and then with 32 players left, 27 getting paid, the average stack is 5.1m’s. An easy solution to this problem would be dropping the antes down or adding a couple more levels, like 2500/5000/500 and 5k/10k/1k. Oh well… this ain’t the world series, but it could be structured better when the play actually matters.
Anyways, it was quite a roller coaster tournament for me. I started off in my usual manner, playing small ball and building my stack to 13k in the first two levels. In the third I got 3 outed in a 9200 chip pot, and went into the first break with 8300. Coming back from the break I shifted gears quickly as the antes came into play and re-built to 15k. We busted a few players, and then Andy sat down in the 6 seat. I was in the 8 seat. Andy had a few more chips than me, so I was glad that he was to my right. I had never seen the kid before, but he was young, so I assumed that he’d be aggressive and at least semi-decent. I was about half right. He was hyper-aggressive, raising about 7 of the first ten hands he played (also probably helped by some good cards), and he was an excellent player. Angst. I tried re-raising him a couple of times in spots where it looked like he was stealing, and he just came right over the top of me both times. Did he have a hand? Maybe. Did he know that I was weak? Probably. Honest to goodness after playing a couple of hours together, I can seriously say he is the best tournament player I have played against since the series. Well done Andy.
We went into the second break with me sitting at 8500 on the button, blinds 400/800/100. It was go time for me. Very first hand it folds to the cutoff, and I decide that I’m shoving blind if he folds. Nope. He shoves for about 10k. OK. Time to look. A A . Oh. I guess I call. And whadya know the SB decides to re-shove! I was up against the A K in the SB and the 7 7 in the cutoff. Flop A44, and I say, “I win.” Immediate triple up. NICE.
About two orbits later I bust a short stack, and another orbit later, with blinds at 6-12/2 (i think… maybe 4-8/1), Andy opens to 3200. I have about 30k. I look down at K K . NICE. No messing around here. I re-raise to 9k. It folds to Andy, and he calls. Flop Kxx all diamonds. Sweet. He checks, I shove, and he insta calls. He has the same black aces I tripled up with earlier. Ugh. What a cooler. The hand pretty much played itself and it was all going in no matter what, but I got pretty lucky there.
So now Devo has a ton of chips. With blinds at 6-12/200, a short stack goes all in for 8900 UTG. The player to my right with about 17k decides to just call for some reason. I look down at 55, think about for a little bit, and decide to call as well in late position. I had about 80k at this point. We see the flop 3 handed, 953 (zing!), and the other player shoves, I insta call, and he has 77.
NOTE: DON’T CALL HALF YOUR STACK WITH 77 VS A SHORTY. SHOVE.
So, In honor of Orel, I busted two more players with 55. Going into the third break I had 117,500, good for the chip lead, with one guy right behind and several in the 90 range.
After break I get moved to a new table pretty quickly, built up to 130ish, and this hand came up. I’m literally brand new to the table. I know one player, Harry from Canterbury, who is immediately to my left with about 60k. Blinds are 1500/3k/500. UTG opens to 6k, I have no read. Folds to the 9 seat (I’m in 10), and after much deliberation he shoves for 31,500. I have a stone cold read on this guy that he’s not strong. My range is 3/4 small-med pair, 1/4 two weak big cards. I look down at TT and want to isolate the weak player. I make it 60k. Oops… Harry calls behind, all in for 59k. I know he has me crushed. Folds to the UTG player, and he actually woke up with a hand. He convinced himself that I had KK however and mucked QQ face-up. He said he would mucked even if Harry was not in the pot, but him being there obviously made the decision easier. The weak player had AJ, Harry had KK, the flop was Q high (LOL), I never improved, and Harry scooped a nice pot. I thought about my decision a lot, and based on my read, my stack, and the accelerating structure, I made the right play and was just unfortunate to run into KK and possibly QQ.
Fast forward to the dinner break. I have 86,500, there are 32 players left, blinds are 3k/6k/1k, and the four stacks to my left are short to medium, only one having me covered. Average was 96.5k good for 5.1m’s. Retarded. During dinner I decide that I’m going to come out firing hoping to take advantage of the shorties to my left and the bubble play. First hand I pick up K 9 in the cutoff. It’s folded to me and I make it 18k (first mistake… shoulda been 15k). It folds to the big blind and he shoves. He was the shortest of the four. Long story short, it’s 46k more to me and I’m getting 2-1. If I fold I’m left with 68k. I’m playing for first, not 27th, so I decide to call, thinking that there’s a reasonable enough chance that I’m racing, a 60-40 dog, or at worst dominated and a 3-1 dog.
MISTAKE. Bad play. I didn’t have any solid reads, but this simple fact that this was the bubble and this player hadn’t exhibited any unnecessary gamble should have let me know that I was crushed. In the heat of the moment I forgot about this and stuck in the extra 46k and got crushed by AA. So retarded. If I make this laydown, I have a bunch of more chips later.
A few hands later I shove with A 3 , get called by the BB and double and a half up unimproved. Very next hand I shove with A J UTG, get called by AK, make trip jacks, and double+ up. Both hands I would have shoved with even if I had the extra 46k… so really we’re looking at about 90k extra I shoulda had. After the AJ hand I’m right back to 90k. I play through the blinds, and it’s folded to me on the button, same 3-6 blinds. I see Q J and raise to 16k. BB calls, 43k in the pot. Q43 flop, two diamonds, and he open shoves for about 60k. What the?!? I gotta be good here. I call. Nope. AQ. I lose, and am down to 11k with 28 players left.
Funny thing. Right before this hand, one table wanted to give 27th place money to 28th place. I immediately said no. There were three stacks with less than 15k out there! No shot. So, I turned into the bad guy, and next hand I’m down to 11k. LOL.
Two hands later I shove with K J for a monsterous 9k, am called by both blinds, and win unimproved. We play through, finally burst the bubble, and I have 19k. PHEW. Streak broken. I’m on the button. Oh, guess what? We’re re-drawing for seats. Oh goodie. I get put in the big blind. Proper.
1k ante, 4k-8k blinds now, and I have 10k left. I announce, “No bluffing me! I’m going all-in blind.” Cards get back in the air, a player opens to 30k early, and I stick in my 10k without looking. He says, “Oops. I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar.” He rolls over 84o. LOLOLOLOL! He missed even looking at my stack and did not hear my announcement. I actually had A T and get more chips. On the button I steal the blinds. Then, 7 handed I shove with A 8 UTG same orbit, and the player to my left re-shoves. Uh-oh. He has KK. 943 flop. I say, “How bout the deuce of spades?” Close. 5 turn. 6 river. I’m over 100k again. Pretty lucky….
We start playing hand for hand again, waste a bunch more time, and finally Linda Johnson busts 19th and we consolidate to two tables. With 16 left this hand comes up. A guy with about 220k opens to 45k, blinds 6-12/2. I see AKo, and shove, 59k more. Folds back to him, and he goes into the tank. Aparrently his hand was in the cookie jar too.
NOTE: IF YOUR HAND SUCKS, DON’T RAISE SO MUCH THAT YOU’RE COMMITTED TO CALLING!
I really wanted a fold here actually, figuring he had something along the lines of JT, but I figured that he was going to call eventually once he realized that he was getting better than 3-1. He did with QTo, JTx flop, and I never improved. GG me.
I’m pretty happy with my play overall. I made a decent mistake with the K9, got unfortunate in some spots, caught that sick AA and KK heater, got really lucky in several spots in the homestretch, and got pretty unlucky on the last hand. It’s kinda funny that if he had made a raise to 30-35k like he should have I might have still been playing, or if I win that hand then I’m above average again, but oh well… that’s tournament poker. It feels good to finally break the drought, even if it’s a small cash.
Thanks to Jim and Lara who sweated me most of the day, and to Lisa for stopping by at the bubble.
$340 Omaha 8 tomorrow. Fun! I think I may make it party day and drink many beers while playing. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.
Peace and good luck,
The streak stays alive and I’m starting to like this no-limit stuff! Well, my streak of not cashing in live events is staying alive. I’m an official 0 for 16 since my win in November. Pretty dang sick if you ask me. Here’s how the last two events went.
Venetian $300+40 event #2:
These events are the deepest stacks of any small tournament I have ever played. This is kinda a two edged sword for me since we’re looking at a lot of play with the only relative value coming from the top few spots. But, these are extremely good practice for me for the bigger events.
I got up to 9k from 6k starting in the first 30 minutes of the first level, blinds of 25-50. The play on my table was atrocious. Then, I got a set cracked and I doubled up a short stack. Then I got QQ cracked but was able to get away from it on the flop. Then I got no action with AA. Then I got KK cracked, and was again able to get away from it on the flop. Then I raised twice, and had to fold the flop. And then I check raised all-in on the flop with a double belly buster and was called by top pair weak kicker, and gg me. I must say though that I am pretty impressed that I lasted even that long getting cold decked that much early.
After that I played some 5-10 NL at the Wynn, the game sucked, and I quit up $300.
Friday… Wynn $500+40 event #1. I lasted an entire 35 minutes. On the hand that busted me, I 3 bet a guy all in with Q9 black on a J T 3 flop. I really didn’t think he had anything. He called quickly and I thought it was up to my draw. He said, “What do you have?” I said a draw. He said, “Me too.” He had Q 8 , drawing to an entire eight outs. LOL. I get it all in with Queen high and it’s good. Anyways, the 2 rolled off on the turn and I was drawing dead. GG me.
This, however, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I started a 5-10 NL game shortly thereafter, and it sucked. I made $21 in something like an hour, and finally got into the 10-20 NL game which looked like the best game in the house. I sit down with $4021, immediately get dealt in on my big blind, and I see a flop five ways with 66, $100 in the pot. The flop comes perfect… 9 6 3 . We’re playing a big pot here boys and girls. SB checks, I bet $80, and only the button calls. Fair enough. A on the turn, I bet $200 with $260 in the pot. This is where it gets fun. He raises to $580. I re-raise to $1400. He re-raises to $2400. OK… fine. I’m all in. He thinks forever. I’m pretty sure he has A9 or 33 and I’m getting called now that the pot is so huge. He finally mucks, and I’m pretty happy to win that big of a pot on my first hand.
Hand seven I open from middle position with QQ to $100, and I’m called only by the button who has about $1k in front of him. Flop 973 with a suit. I bet $120, he calls. Turn 5o, I bet $400, he called. River 9. Hmmm. Time to go to value-check town. If I bet, it’s pretty unlikely that I”m getting called by a worse hand, but if I check, there’s a lot of hands that he’ll bluff all-in with. I check, he shoves, I call, and MHIG. He shows 67.
About an hour later I limp from the same position with QJo and the villian from the previous hand raises to $100. He had rebought for about $4k. I call hoping for a big flop to stack him with, and I flop gin again. Flop is KT9 all offsuit. Ahhhhh, yeah. Dear God, please let him have a set, and if you so bequeath him with said settage, please remove all board pairing cards from the deck. Amen.
I check, he bets $160, I make it $400, and he instantly calls. Oh sweet pink marshmellow peeps… he has a big hand. I’m thinking of all the steak and lobster dinners I can buy with $4k when the stupidest card ever rolls off on the turn. Q . AYA. OK… Plan B now. No cheap draws. I bet $1k and he instantly calls. River bricks out (thank God), I go to value town and bet another $1k, he calls, and MHIG. He had the set of kings as expected. He didn’t quite see my point of view how the turn saved him $1500, but it was quite a cooler and I was lucky enough to be on the good end of it.
So, after that hand I was up $5k. I spent the next three hours whiffing draws, running into big pairs, folding trips on the turn, and generally going card dead and I bled off $2500 pretty efficiently. I had plenty of opportunities to stack a few individuals, but missed all my key cards (either on my hand or their hand) and wasn’t able to do any more. I quit after four hours of the game up $2515 and was very happy with my performance.
Tomorrow I am playing a $540 event at the Venetian. Wonder how long it’s going to be until I cash again?!?
So I’m 67 hours into this great experiment in no-limit hold-em. I have been told that by playing no-limit my win rate will go up and my standard deviation will go down. Basically that means that my bottom line will will be higher and my swings will be less. Here are my numbers so far through 67 hours:
5-10: $10,270 63 hours $163 hourly
10-20: $2,972 8 hours $372
$3,024 biggest win, ($1,624) biggest loss.
12 winnins sessions vs. 4 losing sessions.
Well, these numbers sure point to the preposition at the beginning of this experiment. Win rate is higher, the swings are less. It’s much easier to control everything in no-limit. I think these numbers are slightly skewed though because I have yet to take a massive cooler that busts my stack. I am sure that is going to happen eventually. I however, have yet to stack somebody with a big stack. So maybe that’s a wash? Either way, I’m pretty thrilled with the numbers thus far and am excited for the next 130 hours of this experiement.
Peace and good luck,
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… A discourse of the lake, NBA all-star weekend, and some poker content… Well y’all, sorry it has taken me forever to post a new blog, but frankly I haven’t felt up to it. I went bust this week. Flat broke and busted. I haven’t really felt like writing at all, and spent most of Sunday and Monday playing Oblivion on the 360.
OK… so one part of that is true. Just one. I’ll let you guess which one :-).
This is going to be a long one, so I’ll break it up into sections. First is a cross-post of my friend Rick Fuller’s blog basically showing what a day on the lake is like. If you’re in the mood for laughing and shaking your head, read, if not, scroll down to the next section, which will cover the week in poker and go over a couple of interesting hands.
Here we go!
As written by Rick Fuller:
Who knew playing with two balls could be so much fun…
I arrived at 7-11 just in time to meet up with Devo and crew who were stuffing hot dogs in their faces. Having just woken up and feeling more than a little bit of overhang from my exploits of the night before, I still felt somewhat compelled to accept the profferred Bud Light as we all hopped in the truck for the short drive over to Lake Mead. Joining us for the boating trip was Devo’s brother Jared and his roommate Danny, with two other guys meeting us at the lake.
I have been to Lake Mead a few times before, once even renting a speed boat for the day and touring the thing. I have heard many people in Las Vegas complain about what a bad lake it is and how they hate it there, and I really have to say they are a bunch of idiots. The lake has its own kind of beauty that jumps out at you if you give it a chance and really look around. I had a lot of fun on the lake when I was there before and this was no exception.
Devo has an old, semi lake worthy pontoon boat that appears to have been used harder than Britney Spears on a Friday night. Half of the roof tore off in a windstorm a while back, his neighbor ran into the boat with his truck tipping it over and the insurance company “totalled” it. Devo and his friend cashed the check, stood the boat back upright, and headed back to the lake. The pontoons have so many repair marks from cans of liquid weld and duct tape that I was sure just looking at them too hard was going to cause them to open up and fill with water. I was even more concerned when Jaron asked Devo if he had remembered to drain the water out of them from the last lake trip. Trying hard not to think to much about drowning in a 1000 foot deep lake, I asked where the garbage was for my now empty beer can. Danny laughed and said, “Why do you think the floor of this thing is so big? Drop it.”
We launched the boat and the six of us headed out for what the crew called “Bocci Island”. The 35 horse power outboard whisked us along the 2 mile trip in 42 minutes flat and we beached the boat on the shore of a big island that bore many signs of past visits by this very crew. Devo broke out the Bocci Ball set, a game I have heard a lot about but never played. Basically, the rules are that one person first gives this little white ball a stripper’s name and then throws it wherever they want to. They then make up whatever special rules they want to, such as, you have to stand on one foot, you have to throw backwards, you have to hit the rock behind Melody first, or you have to bounce the ball off Danny’s head before it crosses the throwing line. You must always have a beer in your hand and if your beer happens to be empty then you must have a loaner beer in your hand. Then everybody takes turn chucking two balls at the stripper ball and the person who is the closest wins. The person who is the furthest away has to run back to the boat and get beer for everyone else. If your ball lands in the lake you have to dive into the 55 degree water and retrieve it.
Now I am not really sure how many of the rules are official Bocce Ball rules and how many are Devonshire specialties, but I do know that with the right combination of alcohol intake and the right guys playing the game, it turns out to be a pretty fun time, much more fun than it sounds. We played for several hours and I was lucky enough to never have to go get beers for the crew, although my ball did go in the water once. Luckily it was only knee deep so I was able to retrieve it without losing two other balls that have a real aversion to 55 degree water.
It took quite a while, but eventually throwing two balls at another ball got boring and, after sitting on the bluffs staring at the lake for a while, we headed back to the boat and cast off. We cruised over to another part of the lake and pulled in to this beautiful, hidden red rock cove and beached the boat again. We pulled out the fishing gear and fished off the rocks for a while with none of us catching a thing. Then, as darkness descended on the lake, we lit a bonfire on the sandy shore and drew up chairs, just relaxing, having drinks, and enjoying the gorgeous desert sunset. As both darkness and drunkeness fully decended on our gathering, somebody had the brilliant idea to play “hot coal”. This game, much like the childs game “hot potatoe”, but with more dire consequences, is another game that just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense sober but seemed perfectly logical after beer number nine.
Anyway, obviously the game would start with a red hot glowing ember being pulled from the depths of the bonfire. Someone would pick it up and toss it around the ring to someone else who would juggle it and pass it on. If you dropped it or threw it bad you had to drink and if anybody was out of beer you had to go to the boat and get more. I eventually had the brilliant idea to play “hot stick” and then to see how long I could hold said hot stick while my skin started to smoke. I am a manly man. I can hold glowing stick in hand while skin blisters without flinching.
Anyway, the game slowly degenerated until Devo offered up another game involving some kind of ninja activity. By then one of the guys was off to the side throwing up, Danny had fallen over twice, nearly landing in the fire, and we decided it was time to head out. I decided that eventually we were probably going to end up back at the boat launch and someone would have to be sober enough to drive home so I stopped drinking. The six of us had been through nearly 78 beers by that point so it wasn’t too hard to decide to stop.
We put out the fire and jumped back onto the lake cruiser, if by cruiser I mean 3 mile per hour putter, and decided to head down to the Hoover Dam to check it out. A couple of the guys had never seen it so we turned the boat down Black Canyon and arrived at the Dam. We parked the boat along the Dam canyon wall just up the Dam river from the Dam and started yelling at the Dam walls to see how many Dam echoes we could hear. I’m sure the Dam workers and the Dam drivers were more than a little annoyed by the Dam drunk guys yelling at the Dam canyon walls, but we were pretty much beyond Dam caring by then.
Eventually someone had the brilliant idea to head for home and we slowly crossed the lake and landed on the opposite shore. It was quite a sight to watch Devo try to trailer the boat while he was drunk and I was pretty glad I had stopped drinking since everybody else seemed to be in no state to do any driving. On try number 9, with a few more dents and holes in the pontoons, the boat was trailered and I got behind the wheel for the drive home. We made it back to Devo’s house safely and his girlfriend Lara took us out for a late dinner. I spent that night in the spare room at his house. I needed my sleep for the next day we were going shooting.
Moving along. So that was last Monday. Good times. Tuesday Lara hooked us up with a room at the Wynn and dinner (comped… atta girl!) so I spend the day there. I played a short session that night, only played one big pot, and quit up around $500. I spent most of Valentines day kicking back, taking care of a bunch of errands, and spending the evening with Lara. Valentines day dinner? Fish Tacos, enchiladas, rice, beans, and Fat Tire beer purchased from the local Mexican joint. Soooo good. Thursday I lost $1100 in bad games, then went and sang Karaeoke with Jared and Danny, celebrating the fact that they both have jobs now. I busted out Gin-n-Juice. Old Skool baby…
Then, Friday came along. I have never seen this town so crowded. Ever. I ended up at the Venetian to play some 5-10NL Friday night and brought home $2400 after ten hours. There were several players that literally gave their money away. It was pretty sick. My favorite was when I raised it to $70 in the BB with QQ, got called by two players, got called by the ATM on the A K Q for $190 on the flop, check-check the 6 turn, and then he paid off my $400 A river bet with K T . Ahh, so sweet.
Saturday was more 5-10 NL at the Venetian. The game died around 7pm with me up $600. Here is the interesting hand from that session. Playing five handed, UTG makes it $30, cutoff and button call, and I call out of the BB with AQo. Flop Q 5 5 . I check, he bets $60, fold, fold, I make it $200. He goes into the tank, and then re-raises me $500 more! This was pretty weird. I wasn’t really sure where I was at before this point, but his re-raise really felt like it was the last money he was putting in the pot. Kinda one of those “I like my hand, but I don’t love my hand” kind of re-raises. I actually thought we may have the same hand. My range was half the time we had the same, 1/4 of the time he had me beat, 1/4 i had him beat, but I was pretty sure that he didn’t want to put any more money in the pot.
“I’m all in.” Total bet somewhere around $3200. He instantly folded. I gave myself a good pat on the back after that one.
When the game died I wandered over Caesar’s to play some 5-10 there and won a couple hundred in a couple of hours. Very good soft game. Also while at Caesar’s I found the NBA game. They were playing 100-200 NL and everybody was straddling. There were two pros in the game and seven ballas. I wanted in.
Lara, Miri, and I walked over to the Mirage to meet at Revolution, a new club/lounge there. VERY cool place! The party included Brandon Cantu, Jeff Madsen, Jim Shipley, Topher, Mohawk, Rick Fuller, and several others. We were able to raise $50k between six of us to stake Travis in the game. When he checked out the game: Private. What the?!? How’d the pro’s get in?!? Oh well.
So, DAD showed up that night (Drunk Ass Devo) and got this urge to go play some dice around 2am. He quickly blew $300 and started heading back to REV. On the way he walked by the Baccarat lounge. Oops. Bet $300, lose. Bet $600, win. Ah ha! Now I have to book a profit. Bet 3, lose. Bet 5, lose. Bet 1k, lose. Bet 1700, lose, busted.
I was so pissed at myself. So freakin retarded. At that point I just wanted to leave, and Lara and I ended up crashing at Miri’s house.
I did spend the next two days in hibernation playing Oblivion, and finally came out today. I played the 5-10 Wynn game. Early on I got really lucky in a $2500 pot with KK on a J42 two heart flop. It went check, check, I bet $100, guy with about $500 total makes it $200, and loud, cocky, annoying guy makes it $1k all-in. Now, this guy loves to make big bets, loves to isolate short stacks, and quite frankly I really thought my KK was good. I called, shorty folded, and I was way wrong and way behind his set of fours. But alas, a K spiked on the river and ship-it this way. It was the first time I honestly felt good sucking out on somebody. I generally never really dislike somebody, but this is one of those people. Either way, very lucky river.
PHEW. I need to stop falling behind on blogs. Stupid Oblivion. If any of y’all have played that game, I’m sure you understand.
The Wynn Classic starts Thursday, and the Venetian “Deep Stack Extragavanza” starts tomorrow, so y’all will get a good couple of weeks worth of tourney reports.
Thanks for reading!
Peace and good luck,
Two more sessions, two more wins So, I played a couple of more sessions of no-limit in the past two days.
Yesterday I made it into the Wynn at 3pm to play in the 5-10 no max buy-in NL game. This game is all over the place. Sometimes really good, other times really bad, and the rest of the time right in the middle. When I sat down the game was really good, turned bad, and then got decent when I moved to the main game. I honestly cannot remember any significant hand that I played, but ended up $2255 after six hours of play.
From there I drove over to Harrah’s to meet some friends at the Piano Bar. If you have never been there before, next time you are in Vegas, I strongly recommend it. It’s a great joint period, but is especially good for pre-partying before going out somewhere else. This night however, it was the only destination. When everybody got there the party included myself, Lara, Charlie Sewell, Claudia, Jim Shipley, Joe Sebok, Amanda from pokerwire.com, Lisa and two of her friends, Brandon Cantu, and Theo Tran. Check out the picture on my myspace page and you’ll get a pretty good idea of how the night went :-).
Today I woke up somewhat groggy, checked my e-mail, and then realized at 1:45pm that I needed to be at Caesar’s for the NBC National Heads-Up Championship Satellite. They were guaranteeing one seat into the 25k buy in event, and Sebok, Theo, and myself were planning on showing up. I arrived at 2:45pm, paid the $200+30 entry fee, and took my seat. When we finally got the cards in the air we had 8 full nine-handed tables, and the field was pretty much a joke. There were a few players, but the play in general was pretty poor. Nothing special happened during the event, but I must rant about the structure.
Harrah’s was guaranteeing one seat into one of the most prestigeous tournaments ever, televised on NBC. So, for our $200+30 buy-in we got 1500 in chips and 30 minute levels starting at 25-50. OK fine… not bad. Unlimited re-buys for $200 first two levels for 1500 in chips, and one add-on for $200 at the first break for 2500 in chips. But here’s the structure, 30 minute levels:
(10 min break, actually turned into 20 mins)
(10 min break, race off quarters)
(10 min break)
What the?!? How retarded is that? Harrah’s is pretty much guaranteeing that whoever they give the seat to is going to be completely clueless. Whoever draws first round against that satellite winner is the biggest luckbox ever. I was pretty frustrated to say the least, got busted out on the river, and won’t ever play an event like that again. So lame.
Anyways, I headed over to the Wynn to play some more 5-10 NL and actually have a few interesting hands to report.
First one, I have about $4300 on the table. A really bad player makes it $40 UTG, I call in mid pos with 66, two players call behind as does the BB (this was one of those good game nights). The flop comes Q45, two clubs. BB checks, bad player thinks for a while and finally bets $100. I have him either on a club draw or some weakish hand, but definately something that cannot stand much heat. I make it $260. Everybody folds back to him, he thinks forever, and reluctantly calls the additional $160. Turn is an offsuit J. He checks, clearly hates his hand, and I follow through by betting $400. He thinks forever and reluctantly calls. I’m assuming at this point that he’s on a club draw. The river is an offsuit deuce, he checks, and I check behind. He tables QTo, and I muck my hand.
I think I played this pretty bad. My read was accurate, but this was a player that was really bad because of his loose calls rather than his retarded bluffs. In the heat of the moment I thought I could get him off his hand because he had laid down hands to me on the turn a couple of times prior, but both times I was the aggressor. You can’t bluff the unbluffable Devo! By the time I got to the river though, I think if I had shoved I would have finally gotten him to lay it down, but his range was so wide that I think checking the river was the right play. Oh well, I pissed off $700 in that hand. At least it was good for my image!
About an hour later I had about $3600 in front of me and this hand came up. I limped in the SB with 95o and we saw a flop five ways for $10 each. It came Q73 and checked around. Turn 9 putting two clubs out there. Checked to the guy in 3rd position who is a chronic bluffer and he bet $40. Fold, button folded, and I was pretty confident that my hand is good. I made it $120. BB folded, and the bluffer called. River 4 offsuit. This is where it gets fun. I’m super confident that he was semi-bluffing the turn. Thus, the four does not help his hand. I decide to go to “value-check town”. I check, and he instantly bets about $300 in $10 chips. I say, “How much is that? Eh, doesn’t matter. I call,” and throw four black chips into the pot. His cards instantly hit the muck and I never had to show my hand. So sweet.
Very next hand I’m on the button and everybody folds to me. I look down at a pair of ones, the good ol’ AA. I make it $40 and both blinds call. Flop comes 842 one suit. Checks to me, I fire $100, SB folds, and my buddy goes all-in for about $500. I instantly call, table my AA, and he tables 85o, no draw. The board bricks out and I busted him in two consecutive hands. Good times. He left, came back, re-bought, blew his whole stack to my friend Ann with 77 v. QQ preflop, quit, and then I finally decided to call it quits up $1077.
So this no-limit adventure is going pretty well so far. I’m going to stick it out for at least another three weeks and we’ll see how things are going after that point, but so far I’m really liking it. I’m seeing much more value with much less fluctuation, and even though I’m bored out of my mind, it’s work, and I’m doing this for money, not the entertainment, so however I can make more and risk less I am going to pursue.
Peace and good luck,
and angering NETELLER news… My adventures in no-limit have continued over the past few days. Two days ago I played in the Wynn 5-10 NL deep stack (no max buy-in) game for six hours and literally played zero interesting hands. I was down $400 at one point, I was up $400 at one point, and quit down $28. I was bored out of my mind for six hours straight. I have been thinking however about the different mindset for playing no-limit, and I am beginning to grasp the finer points of the game. Limit is like checkers if you will. Quick, mechanical, and the game is decided by many small victories. No-limit is like chess, long, tedious, often boring, but with thought levels going very deep leading up to one elaborate trap of one key piece.
Yesterday I worked the day shift because I was planning on spending the night with Lara. I had a great session, winning $3024 in six hours. I earned about $1k, but was given the rest. My personal favorite was early in the session when I was sitting on $1400 (1k max) in the cutoff seat with AA. The hijack (player to my right) opened to $50 with $1200 in his stack. I wanted the whole stack and smooth called. We saw the flop heads up and it came 762 rainbow. He bet $80, I made it $210, and he went all-in. Wow. That’s quite a bet. I called, and long story short he had A 9 . Uh… thanks :).
Today I woke up early and I went golfing with my friend Carl and two of his buddies. We were the first group out on the course. Great times and I sucked, shooting a solid 121. That includes four pars. Sick, eh? Good thing I wasn’t betting. I made it in to the Bellagio by 3pm and put in a 6 hour session of the same 5-10 game, netting $355.
Early on I played a pretty interesting hand. I was UTG in a straddled pot with 1k in my stack. I opened to $60 with KQo. Todd in the SB called as did the straddler, $190 in the pot. It came Q88 two spades. Check, check, I bet $140, call, fold. Todd and I have played some together and he is pretty reasonable in his play. I had never seen him make a play at a pot or do anything creative, and he knows that my play is solid also. The turn came another 8. He checked, and I bet $320, leaving myself with about $460. I made this bet because I put him on some mid-range Q, thought I may be free-rolling, and wanted to put him to a little test because my turn-bet was very strong. Looking back though, I think betting in this spot may have been a mistake. What do I do if he goes all-in? It may be a better play checking the turn to keep the pot small and possibly induce a bluff on the river. I’m really not sure though and my thinking may be results oriented. He ended up going all-in, and I figured that I was playing for a chop at best, and his play was so strong, so I laid my hand down. He had AQ, and I got outplayed.
I also started thinking about it from his play. I think his shove was a pretty bad play. Very few players are going to be laying their hand down for $440 more into a $1500 pot, and I’m going to have him crushed a high percentage of the time. I suppose that is why I gave his bet so much credit, because who is laying down in that spot, and who shoves when they’re expecting to get called, and if they get called they’re chopping at best?!?
Anyways, I’m pretty unsure about the hand. These are all just the random thoughts I’ve had. Perhaps he had a read on me knowing that I was as weak as possible with that turn bet and he was chopping at worst. If so, perfect play. I dunno. What are your thoughts?
In other news today the US Government seized $55,000,000 of funds from NETELLER accounts held by US citizens. The funds have been seized on the grounds that the money is evidence in the case against the founding members arrested three weeks ago. WHAT A BUNCH OF BULL SHIT. My money has been seized by the government of the United States of America. If any of you had money in NETELLER, it’s been seized from you too. This is the free country that we live in. This is the government that we’ve elected to uphold our constitution, bill of rights, and God given freedoms. I have been quite frustrated with the current state of politics for several years. Here is a post that I wrote after the November 2004 elections. This is the first time that it has actually hit home for me personally though, where not only are my freedoms being actively infringed but I am being stolen from by my own government.
Think about these things next time you head to the ballots.
Peace and good luck,